Goodwin rallies to win U.S. Junior Am

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2017, 12:43 am

ANDOVER, Kan. - Noah Goodwin rallied to beat Matthew Wolff 1 up in 100-degree heat Saturday in the U.S. Junior Amateur final to become the third player to win a year after losing the title match.

The 17-year-old Goodwin, from Corinth, Texas, was four holes down with eight to play at Flint Hills National before pulling off the second-biggest comeback in tournament history.

''It's every junior's dream to win the U.S. Junior,'' Goodwin said. ''It's the most prestigious junior event in the entire world. Everybody knows about it, and to add my name among the greats like Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods just means everything to me.''

Goodwin works with Spieth's instructor, Cameron McCormick, and the noted teacher was quick to send his pupil a congratulatory text message.

''That just means a lot,'' Goodwin said. ''He's done so much for my game. I can't really express my gratitude for Cameron. I wouldn't be where I am without him.''

The match ended when Wolff conceded Goodwin's 6-foot birdie putt on the par-5 36th. Wolff drove left into the water hazard and was facing a putt for double bogey.

Goodwin plans to graduate from high school early and enroll at SMU in January. The 18-year-old Wolff, from Agoura Hills, California, will be a freshman at Oklahoma State.

''It's tough to come out on the bottom, but I played great all week,'' Wolff said.

Goodwin dropped 4 down when Wolff took the par-3 28th with a birdie. Goodwin won the par-5 29th with a 35-foot birdie putt and took the par-4 30th, par-3 32nd and par-4 33rd with pars to pull even.

The only larger comeback came two years ago when Phillip Barbaree edged Andrew Orischak in 37 holes at Colleton River Plantation Club after trailing by five holes with eight to play. Andy Hyeon Bo Shim, in 2012 at The Golf Club of New England, also rallied from 5 down at the start of the afternoon 18 in beating Jim Liu, 4 and 3. The USGA lengthened the final from 18 holes to 36 in 2005.

Last year, Goodwin fell 2 and 1 to Australia's Min Woo Lee at The Honors Course in Tennessee. Mason Rudolph (1950) and Tim Straub (1983) also won a year after falling in the title match.

''It's a feeling that I'm still kind of trying to grasp,'' Goodwin said. ''A lot of emotions are going through me right now, and I'm guessing it's all going to come out in the car ride back. More than anything, I'm just extremely blessed and grateful to be given the opportunity to be back in the final again and to be able to have a little bit different outcome.''

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.